coaching millennials

Coaching Millennials – How to Meet their Needs re Feedback

Working with Millennials Can Be a Challenge

For baby boomers, working with millennials can be a challenge. Boomers (born 1946-1964) often supervise millennials (born 1946-1964) in today’s workforce.   Being from a different generation, boomers sometimes find it challenging relating to–let alone coaching–millennials. For instance, boomers have high loyalty to their companies, and are apt to stay at one company most or all of their career. Millennials, by contrast, tend to be loyal to what they are working on, and are more apt to bounce around from one place to another during their careers. In this case study, you’ll learn actionable suggestions on coaching millennials.

The Situation

Frank is the 55-year-old vice-president of an accounting and bookkeeping firm. He’s seen his industry transformed by a revolution in technology.

To keep up with competition, Frank’s company has rapidly expanded its capabilities for working with virtual tools in new accounting platforms. This has meant hiring a group of technology millennials, almost all at the same time.

Constant Feedback

Frank is their manager, and to his credit, he is aware that his own generation’s work expectations and outlook were much different from this age group’s. For instance, he understands that in general, millennials appreciate and look forward to frequent feedback.

How to Communicate with Millennials?

Like many managers, though, Frank must find a way to accommodate employee expectations in terms of his own finite resources and time constraints. Which of the following strategies makes the most sense for communicating with and coaching millennials?

Your Choices:

Click the best answer below. Our answer will then highlight with an explanation below.

 No, please try again.

 No, please try again.

Coaching Millennials

Just because millennials expect more frequent feedback about their performance than the traditional quarterly or annual review, it doesn’t mean managers must treat it as a lengthy, daily “hand-holding.”

While managers like Frank may have to find some additional time for feedback, with practice, they can become more efficient at providing it. Feedback can turn into a habitual reflex that pays worthwhile dividends. And by the way, wouldn’t all employees benefit from their bosses establishing a frequent, effective feedback loop?

With that in mind, we can respond to the choices regarding coaching millennials:

Constant Feedback

Sending out what amounts to a form-letter response once a day--choice A--seems like lip service rather than really trying to provide meaningful feedback. So, while it qualifies as frequent, it ignores individuality and won’t feel very satisfying.

Millennials Generally Prefer More Frequent Feedback

Choice B denies the premise: Millennials want more frequent feedback than boomers. So when coaching millennials, your standard quarterly or annual review schedule likely needs more frequency. How can Frank accomplish this in a judicious, individualized, and effective way?

Make Your Feedback Frequent and Individualized

With choice C, the idea is to balance the stepped-up frequency with useful content. Keep in mind:
- Don’t put all millennials into a single group for devising an approach. It’s all about individualizing your process for each person — whatever is timely and appropriate for the specific circumstances.
- No matter how much employees desire frequent feedback, the actual words make all the difference to each individual. Be clear as to where people stand and how they’re doing.
- Feedback is only half of the equation — talking through next steps and follow-up with the individual is what makes feedback powerful.

Now That You Have Coaching Millennials Down…

Now that you have mastered coaching millennials, what is next in your leadership development?

If you have millennials you’d like to lead as effectively as you can, our Q4 Leadership Workshop may be very helpful. Available live or virtual, participants bring in a real life case in which they’ve had trouble making headway. They receive coaching, try out new strategies, and typically report substantial progress after the workshop in making headway.

Our Do You Work with a Difficult Person Behavioral Questionnaire is another resource for providing suggestions for a challenging person you may be dealing with.

If you liked this post on coaching millennials, we have 40 other tips on how to deal with challenging people situations.

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